Support is surging for the family of a North Jersey marine, actor, police officer and father of three who died of suicide.
Longtime Morris County resident Brett Smith, 53, died April 8 after a “brief but torturous” battle with mental illness, his obituary says.
Described as a “Morristown guy through and through,” Smith graduated from the district and went on to pursue his dream of “becoming a star,” according to his memorial.
In addition to accumulating more than 30 television and film credits, Smith enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in Desert Storm as part of the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.
After his 1994 honorable discharge, Smith worked with the Morristown Police Department and was later assigned to narcotics cases — a role that led to the creation of a drug enforcement task force.
“His unique talents helped make the entire County a safer place,” reads his obituary.
Smith served as a positive influence and excelled in his roles as a husband, father, brother, colleague and friend, his memorial says.
“To all who knew him, he was a born entertainer with an infectious smile and boundless energy,” reads his obit. “He was a bright star who lit up every room he entered; he also exited every room with laughter filling the air.”
Nearly $70,000 had been raised on GoFundMe as of Monday morning with donations supporting his family.
“Suicide has taken Brett from this world too soon and he leaves behind a family who needs our help,” reads the fundraiser.
“We ask that you consider ‘becoming a star’ for Brett Smith's family.”
Smith is survived by his wife, Leigh (Diering); his three children Noelle, Billy, and Christian; his mother Irene; his siblings Cindy Maietta (Jimmy), Sherry MacDonald (Bill), and Shane Smith (Helena) as well as several extended family members and close friends.
Smith’s burial will be held April 14 at 10 a.m. at St. Virgil’s Church in Morris Plains.
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